DES MOINES, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Friday evening, Park Street Strategies (PSS) conducted a 2.5-hour dial focus group of 31 undecided Iowan Democrats, and explored what they thought about each candidate, their messages, and policies, as well as what they wanted to hear in the upcoming second debate on Saturday in light of the Paris attacks.
As the pre-debate memo released by PSS outlines, “concern over the economy, the terrorist attacks in Paris, and real doubts over the candidates creates a degree of uncertainty and opportunity for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. That being said, the attacks in Paris reinforce pervasive pre-existing beliefs that Clinton is simply more experienced, ready to lead, and is perceived as a stronger commander-in-chief, while Sanders simply lacks these critical qualities. It won’t be the defining issue of the race, but it could certainly move voters.”
“Paris, and these events will clearly affect certain undecided voters. To what extent it does, Hillary Clinton, her experience and qualities are seen as significant advantages. The fundamental challenge for Sanders is one of electability, and he must crack this perception for him to win over these undecided voters,” said Chris Kofinis, of Park Street Strategies.
The following are the top eight insights from the focus group:
- Undecided Iowans will consider who will be a stronger commander-in-chief, and this could factor into whom they will eventually support.
- Sanders must support his resonating vision with policy specifics, while Clinton must make a more emotional appeal to voters.
- Voters don’t think Sanders should go negative – and he shouldn’t talk about Clinton’s emails.
- There is a real fear that Clinton’s presidency would be controlled by her donors.
- Bipartisanship is an important issue to these voters, but it’s unclear which candidate will do the best job of working with Congress.
- The “Obama hangover” is real – voters still long for an electrifying candidate, and it’s just not present in this race.
- Sanders has an opportunity to seize the promise of accountability. Voters loved the hypothetical idea of him promising not to run for reelection if he failed to accomplish his top five policy proposals. They know Clinton would never make the same promise.
- O’Malley’s campaign is almost over. He’s still too unknown and it’s simply not his time.
Additional details are outlined in our memo, and can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
No candidate, party, or group paid for or was involved in the execution of this focus group. Park Street Strategies is not affiliated with any candidate or campaign, and has not endorsed or committed to working for any campaign.